Swansea 0-2 Newcastle: Cisse can't cease scoring
Published 18:40 06/04/12 By Oliver Holt
Swansea have been a beautiful team to watch since their elevation to the Premier League.
The success their passing, moving style has brought them has made them one of the surprises of the season.
But there are some moments that make their dominance of possession count for nought and Papiss Cisse provided two of them at the Liberty Stadium.
Cisse scored his eighth and ninth goals in his last eight games to give Newcastle a fine win to push them within two points of a Champions League place.
So if Swansea’s season has been a surprise, Newcastle’s has been a revelation.
Some thought Alan Pardew’s team might flirt with relegation after they sold Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and Jose Enrique.
But none predicted they would be challenging for the top four and threatening to overhaul Arsenal and Spurs with a few games remaining.
They played with great patience and application, accepting that the expert short passing of Leon Britton and Joe Allen would deprive them of the ball for long periods.
But they knew the thing Swansea did not possess was a striker of Cisse’s quality. The Senegalese got two chances, and took them both.
“We’re in the top five,” the visiting Newcastle fans sang near the end of the game, directing their chants at a former player who doubted their ambition, “ Jose Enrique, we’re in the top five.”
Cisse scored with Newcastle’s first attack, darting in between Swansea’s centre backs in the fifth minute.
Played in by a lovely first-time ball from Yohan Cabaye, Cisse drilled his shot past Michel Vorm, who got his right hand to it but could not keep it out.
Swansea stuck to their patient passing style but they struggled to make significant inroads into the Newcastle defence and their usual fluency deserted them.
Left-back Neil Taylor was nutmegged by Hatem Ben Arfa, right back Angel Rangel let a simple pass slide under his foot into touch and Nathan Dyer fluffed an attempted backheel.
Swansea have been such a credit to the Premier League in their debut season that they have attracted the support of many neutrals.
But there are those who are insisting they will be unable to replicate their success next season. They say that other sides will have worked out their style of play and will press them higher up the pitch to thwart their passing style.
They face a fight to keep hold of manager Brendan Rodgers, who was linked with Tottenham last week.
And there are fears that some of their key players will be snatched away by predators looking on enviously at the results the club has achieved.
Similar fears surround Newcastle but they stem from apprehension that owner Mike Ashley will attempt to cash in on the club’s success by selling some of the stars who have shot the club to the brink of the top four.
Swansea did not force a save out of Tim Krul until the keeper flung himself to his left to tip away a fierce rising drive from Gylfi Sigurdsson after half an hour.
But after the interval, Swansea began to turn their domination of possession into chances.
Sigurdsson shot just wide a minute after the break and six minutes later, Krul scooped Allen’s drive away for a corner after it took a nasty deflection off Mike Williamson.
Rodgers brought Danny Graham and Scott Sinclair off the bench midway through the half and Sinclair almost notched an equaliser with his first touch.
But a minute later, Cisse proved again that the difference between mid-table and challenging for Europe is a top-class finisher.
Cabaye slid a quick, accurate pass out to Cisse on the left side of the penalty area and as Ashley Williams tried to close him down, he curled the ball over Vorm into the net.
At the end of the game, Newcastle’s players celebrated happily in front of their travelling supporters.
The time to be surprised by them has passed.
It is more fitting now just to be impressed.